Inflatables are made with materials such as PVC, Hypalon, rubber, and vinyl. These materials tend to weather with years of use, which can leave them looking faded as time goes on.
So, can you paint an inflatable to revive it, and keep it looking its best?
You are able to spray paint inflatables but it’s important that you buy the right type of paint. Inflatables are made from non-porous materials, so the wrong type of paint will just wash right off as soon as it gets wet.
Let’s take a look at how you can spray paint your inflatables the right way.
How to paint an inflatable?
If you’re planning on painting your inflatable item, there are a few things you need to consider, including where you’re going to paint, safety, and making sure you have the right tools.
First up, decide whether you’re painting indoors or outdoors. Indoors is a more controlled environment – you don’t have to worry about the wind and debris, or rain.
But if you decide to spray paint indoors, it needs to be in a place that can get a little messy, and where there’s plenty of ventilation. You can’t use spray paint in a non-ventilated space due to the chemicals involved.
It also needs to be big enough to house your inflatable when fully inflated – you can’t spray paint a deflated item after all. So a bounce house is going to need to be painted outside, usually.
Temperature plays a role too – the warmer it is, the faster paint will dry. But if it’s too warm it could get dangerous – you’re dealing with pressurized cans of paint, and you don’t want them to explode.
Think about other safety concerns too. You don’t want anything electrical near you, in case it sparks and ignites the fumes. Follow the safety codes for a spray paint tent, even if you’re not using a tent, and you’ll be fine.
Finally, make sure you have the right equipment. You’ll need a good mask to protect your lungs, and an appropriate spray gun for your chosen paint. Plus you will of course need the correct paint.
There are some spray paints that can paint most surfaces, but PVC and vinyl inflatables tend to need a more specialist paint – one suited to any plastic surface.
Once you have everything set up, make sure your inflatable is inflated – if it requires a blower, you’ll need to be careful to keep the paint away from it as much as possible. Turn it off while you paint the areas near the blower.
Then spray the inflatable with even, slow movements to give it a good coat. If you’re painting different colors, make sure you appropriately mask the areas you don’t want to paint, and leave each section to dry fully for a few hours before removing the masking.
Why do people paint their inflatables?
People paint inflatables either to add personalization, or because they’ve owned the inflatable for a long time and want to improve its look. Inflatables can last a long time if cared for, but they can fade, but it’s better to paint a working one then buy a new one.
If your inflatable still works just as its supposed to, but it’s tired and faded, spray painting it can give it a new lease of life.
Can you paint an inflatable boat?
You can spray paint your boat, either to give it a new lease of life or to stencil an ID onto the side of it. Use appropriate spray materials for inflatables, and make sure to do it when the boat is dry and in a well-ventilated area.
Read more: How To Dry Out Inflatable Boats
Inflatable boats start to look weathered and faded when used over a long period, especially as they’re used outdoors where the sun can cause the colors to suffer.
Or you might just prefer to paint an ID onto the side of your boat using spray paints, instead of a paint can and brush. This is a good option if you don’t have a steady hand but want a neat, professional look, since you can print your own stencil in advance.
Most inflatable boats are made of PVC, Hypalon, and vinyl materials. Spraying them with a durable, plastic-friendly paint designed for inflatables should work fine for these.
However, the best paint you can use is antifouling paint, and that’s more commonly sold in a paint can rather than as a spray. You can get some spray versions but make sure they’re suitable for boats and other inflatables.
Frequently Asked Questions
Painting an inflatable isn’t too important – you don’t need to do it. But it does make your older inflatables look much nicer once they start to fade. If you don’t care about looks then there’s no need to spend a lot of money on good spray paint and tools.
Hypalon paint is meant for Hypalon PU and rubber materials, often used with inflatable boats. It’s not recommended for PVC. This paint doesn’t require mixing. To get started, use a brush to apply the paint on the inflatable, or a spray gun – give it two coats for a smooth finish.
If you’ve bought a paint that is suitable for use on inflatable materials, and is designed to be flexible, then it won’t crack and peel when you deflate and inflate your item. It is designed to offer a thin film to the surface that can bend and shrink without cracking.
Spray painting an inflatable is absolutely possible, and a great way of reviving older inflatables that need a little bit of TLC. It’s not an easy job though, so make sure you get the right tools and workspace, and you take your time.
But with patience and quality paint, you can make your old inflatables shine once again.